Judy’s Magic Cast-On – Sock Knitting

Bonneterie © The Sexy KnitterJudy Becker’s Magic Cast-On technique is a great way to create flawless socks from the toe up. This week we’re looking at how you can use this technique to knit a perfect pair of socks, such as Bonneterie, The Sexy Knitter's knee-high socks from The Knitter issue 29.

Knitting the first round

Rnd 1, First Side Drop the yarn tail and let it dangle. Turn the needles so that the tips point to the right, both needles are parallel to the floor, and the purl bump side is up. You will knit from the needle closest to you. Pull the needle furthest away from you to the right until the stitches lie on the cable. Pick up the working yarn.

Magic Cast On Step8Be sure that the yarn tail lies between the working yarn and the needle. In the picture, you can see how the tail passes under the working strand. You can hold the tail in your left hand for the first stitch or two to keep it stable.

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Magic Cast On Step9Knit the row of stitches from the needle closest to you. Remember to knit all stitches through the middle to prevent twisted stitches. If the first stitch becomes lose, you can snug it up again by pulling gently on the tail. You will see a row of stitches appear between the two needles.

Rnd 1, Second Side Turn the needles so that the tips point to the right, both needles are parallel to the floor, and the purl bump side is up. Pull the needle furthest from you to the right so that the stitches you just knitted lie along the cable.

Push the needle closest to you towards the left so the stitches are on the needle ready to knit.

Magic Cast On Step10Knit the stitches from the needle closest to you (knitting all stitches through the middle to prevent twisted stitches).

You have completed one round and are back where you started. There are two rows of stitches between the needles now.

The absolute centre of your sock toe lies between the two rows of stitches.

Knitting a perfect sock toe

The following instructions are for a typical toe-up sock that starts at the very end:

Rnd 2 On first needle, * K1, M1, K each st to within one stitch of the end of row, M1, K1, turn to second needle. Repeat from *.

Rnd 3 K all stitches on both needles (no increases).

Repeat these two rounds, increasing four stitches every other round, until you reach the desired number of stitches.

Magic Cast On Step11In this picture, 14 rounds have been worked and there are 28 stitches on each needle (56 stitches total).

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Magic Cast On Step12Here you can see the toe spread out. The very end of the toe where the cast-on was made is in the centre. You can see the stitches flow over the centre of the toe with no visible seam.

The tail can be woven in and trimmed at any time after you’ve worked at least one non-increase round.

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Magic Cast On Step13For two-at-a-time socks, drop both the tail and the working strands when you have cast on all the stitches for the first sock. Push the stitches back along the needles to make room for another set of stitches.

Starting from a new ball of yarn or the other end of the first ball, cast a second set of stitches on to the same needles.

Rnd 1, First Side Pick up the working yarn belonging to the stitches closest to the end of the needles. Knit the first set of stitches.

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Magic Cast On Step14Drop the yarn and pick up the working yarn belonging to the next set of stitches.

Knit the next set of stitches.

Rnd 2, Second Side Pick up the workingyarn of the stitches closest to the end of the needles. Knit the first set of stitches. Drop the yarn and pick up the working yarn belonging to the next set of stitches.

Knit the next set of stitches.

Last week we provided a step-by-step introduction to the Magic Cast On technique. Next week we’ll examine how you can use double-pointed needles with Magic Cast-On, and the other knitted items this technique can be used with.

Judy BeckerAbout our expert

Adventurous knitter Judy Becker developed Judy’s Magic cast-on, a stable and invisible provisional cast-on that was first published in Knitty.com.

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